Sheryl Wallace has been named CEO of Ardent Mills, the flour milling joint venture of ConAgra, Cargill and CHS, effective July 8. She succeeds Daniel Dye, who retired. Wallace recently was president of U.S. origination and grain for Cargill. She has been on Ardent Mills’ board since 2020. 

Melinda Cep has started a new role as the senior director of lands, water, and agriculture in the White House’s climate policy office. She previously worked for the National Audubon Society as vice president for natural solutions and working lands.

The U.S. Grains Council named Ankit Chandra as senior manager of global ethanol market development. He previously was an agricultural specialist at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. He also recently earned a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in agriculture, energy and the environment from Columbia University.

Isabelle Ausdal has joined the Farm Credit Council as director of economic and policy analysis. She previously was the U.S. Grains Council's regional ethanol manager for the EU, UK and Canada and manager of global ethanol policy and economics. She also has worked for John Deere, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and Strategic Conservation Solutions.

Isabelle Ausdal .jpegIsabelle Ausdal, Farm Credit Council

Shawn Bengali has been hired by Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, as legislative assistant covering the agriculture and food portfolio, foreign trade and energy. He previously worked for VDMA America as vice president of trade policy.

Patrick Humphrey is now a legislative aide working on agriculture for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. He previously was a legislative correspondent for Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo.

Madeline Ranalli has joined the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as a staff assistant for the Democratic majority. She previously interned for the Environmental Defense Fund as a California electricity decarbonization intern.

Sean Kucer has been promoted to legislative assistant in the office of Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind. Kucer covers energy, transportation, labor, science and technology.

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Ariana Orne is now communications director for Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif. She previously worked for the Special Competitive Studies Project as communications director.

John MacDonald has been named vice president of marketing for The Giant Co. He most recently served as a marketing adjunct professor at Penn State Harrisburg. He originally joined Giant in 2012 as the director of marketing. He has also held senior leadership roles with FreshDirect and Ahold Financial Services.

Primacy Strategy Group filled three leadership positions. Scott Schneider was named communications, public relations and events manager for the Primacy Strategy Group and Synergetic Endeavors. He previously worked in newsrooms across the country. Kelsey Deering has been hired as scheduling and advance coordinator. She recently received a bachelor's degree in media and information and political science from the University of Minnesota,. Brom Lutz will spearhead community relations and business development for western North Dakota. Brom is the owner of a consulting firm focused on business strategies.

Former congressional staffer Kathleen Elder died May 21 at home in Waterford, Virginia, after a bout with metastatic breast cancer of the liver. A graduate of the University of Montana, her Washington career began in 1998 as congressional affairs coordinator for the American Forest and Paper Association. Elder became a staff assistant at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and later a professional staff member for the House Agriculture Committee. After completing the 2002 farm bill, she began a new adventure as a stay-at-home mom, raising three boys. She later worked as an independent consultant before moving to rural Virginia and working as a substitute teacher and 4-H leader. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on June 8 at St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Virginia.

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